Monday Injury Rounds: Week 5

Making rounds on this week's injuries with thoughts on Dez Bryant, Sammy Watkins, Eric Decker, and others

NOTE: This column is a living document. I'll be updating as needed after team press conferences, imaging reports, Monday Night Football injuries, etc. Major changes to the content will be noted in red. I'll also be retweeting any key pieces of news and my own reaction and analysis, so make sure you're following @JeneBramel and checking my timeline on Twitter throughout the week.

Scroll to the bottom of this article for a quick look table of the week's most pressing injury situations and a review of the skill position players on injured reserve / PUP / NFI.


Dez Bryant | Tibia bruise | Day-to-Day

The TL;DR version is this: Bryant's injury is not as bad as originally reported and he has a better-than-average chance of returning to play in Week 5.

There were two separate paths inside the Dez Bryant Choose Your Own Adventure book last week. The first path included pages "lateral tibial plateau fracture" and "Bryant no-showing for a mid-week MRI fearing a season-ending injury" and led to an endgame in which Bryant was likely to miss 4-6 weeks or more. The second path included pages saying "Dez Bryant was allowed to walk without crutches" and "Jason Garrett says he's had many players play through this injury" and "Dr. Andrews says Bryant is day-to-day" and "Bryant got on the plane to San Francisco" and led to an endgame in which Bryant has a good chance to play in Week 5.

Did I mention I have always hated Choose Your Own Adventure books?

Thankfully, Ian Rapoport allowed us to drop that infernal tome in the trash with a Sunday morning report that Bryant's injury was much closer to a bone bruise than tibial plateau fracture. That's much more in line with the notes in the second path I outlined above. In fact, the first path was never particularly believable -- but it was hard to ignore the extremely specific diagnosis given after the MRI was finally completed.

Players do routinely return from bone bruises around the knee in 1-2 weeks. Bryant was moving around the sideline well in San Francisco and has a good chance to increase in practice participation this week and return to the field in Week 5.

Cam Newton | Concussion | Day-to-Day
Carson Palmer | Concussion | Day-to-Day

Both Newton and Palmer suffered second half concussions on Sunday. Both players will have to navigate the concussion return-to-play protocol with one critical difference -- Palmer's next game is Thursday night on the road, while Newton has a home Monday night game. There have been players cleared for Thursday night games after Sunday concussions but it's uncommon. Add in the travel day and I would consider Palmer doubtful for Week 5. Newton has a much better chance of recovering in time to be cleared by the independent neurologist for Monday night.

Eric Decker | Rotator cuff strain | Week-to-Week

Reports on Decker were all over the place this week, from reports the team wasn't worried enough to do an MRI early in the week to reports the rotator cuff injury was severe enough to debate season-ending surgery. As of now, Decker has chosen to rehab his rotator cuff tear. That doesn't mean surgery is off the table yet. The Jets haven't provided a timetable for Decker's return but I expect it will be weeks rather than days. If his rehab doesn't go smoothly and Decker doesn't show signs of improved strength and range of motion in the next 10-14 days, surgery may again be considered.

Matt Forte | Unknown

Forte was reportedly carted to the x-ray room after yesterday's game. Todd Bowles revealed nothing in the post-game press conference. I reviewed Forte's last two series and didn't see anything of note. He didn't appear to be favoring anything specifically before leaving in the fourth quarter. I'll update if there's anything reported on Monday.

Kevin White | Ankle injury | Day-to-Day

White left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury. The moment of injury was obscured in the single television view, but the angle of White's foot and ankle at the end of the play left open the possibility of a high ankle sprain. John Fox said the team was unaware of the severity of White's injury after the game. I've listed White day-to-day for now but this one could easily be a multi-week injury.

Trevor Siemian | Shoulder sprain | Day-to-Day

Siemian suffered what looked to be a low-mid grade AC sprain of his non-throwing shoulder. He did not return to the game.

Others of note: Chris Johnson suffered a groin injury that appeared to be mid-grade or worse. Devin Funchess suffered a toe injury and didn't return. Dewayne Washington's injury looked like a midfoot sprain on television replay but the Lions reported it as an ankle injury. I'll have more on these and any other injuries after team press conferences on Monday.


Sammy Watkins | Metatarsal fracture | Injured Reserve

I think both Watkins and the Bills were hoping to avoid a second surgery and a lengthy rehab on his foot until the season ended. But the past two weeks brought little improvement in the soreness Watkins has been feeling since the preseason and the team moved him to injured reserve. Though there were multiple reports of normal x-rays and reassurance Watkins' current soreness was not a surgical issue, it's clear that something around the surgical site is limiting Watkins. He's due to followup with Dr. Robert Anderson early this week and a revision procedure is likely. 

While surgery is never a welcome option, revision procedures are often very successful. Julio Jones has done very well, as have Emmanuel Sanders and many others. Watkins will be just 24 years old next season and will have a full offseason to rehab and return to full form.

Tyler Eifert | Deltoid ligament repair | Day-to-Day | Target Week 5

Eifert continued to do more in practice last week but the team couldn't be confident including him in their offensive game plan. The rehab protocol for this injury is based on a five-month schedule, but Eifert has been steadily increasing his football related activity for three weeks now. While he may not be ready for a full workload, I think Eifert has a chance to be active in Week 5.

Tony Romo | L1 compression fracture | Week-to-Week | Target Week 8

A Sunday morning report reiterated that Romo's most likely return date is after the Cowboys' Week 7 bye. This was always the most likely outcome for the type of injury Romo has, but Dak Prescott's continued effectiveness will keep the Dallas from compressing the timetable for Romo's return.

Thomas Rawls | Fibula fracture | Week-to-Week | Target Week 8+

Seattle general manager John Schneider told reporters on Sunday that Rawls was still about a month away from return. That's consistent with the initial expectation of six weeks. Rawls will still need to prove himself pain free and negotiate the final days of his rehab without any reconditioning injury.

Kenneth Dixon | MCL sprain | Day-to-Day | Target Week 5

Dixon fully practiced last Friday and is on track to return this week. He's not expected to have a significant offensive role yet but will likely be active in Week 5.

Josh Doctson | Achilles tendinitis | Week-to-Week | Target Week 6+

Washington did not allow Docston to practice last week after he felt soreness during pregame warmups in Week 3. Doctson has been frustrated by ongoing tendinitis since May despite multiple extended periods of rest. This may be his last chance at rest and rehab for this injury this year. If he's not successful, it won't be surprising to see the team to shut him down for the season.

ddQuarterbacks Injured But on the Active Roster
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Cam Newton Concussion W4 No timetable given Day-to-Day  
Carson Palmer Concussion W4 No timetable given Day-to-Day Difficult to clear concussion protocol for TNF
Trevor Siemian Left shoulder sprain W4 No timetable given Day-to-Day  
Jay Cutler Right thumb sprain W2 Day-to-Day Week-to-Week  
Josh McCown Left AC sprain / Clavicle fracture W2 Week-to-Week 3-4 Wk High-grade AC sprain
Jimmy Garoppolo Right AC sprain W2 Day-to-Day W4 earliest return  
Jacoby Brissett Right thumb sprain W3 Day-to-Day Week-to-Week May still need surgery for ligament injury 
Tony Romo L1 compression fracture PS W3 6-10 WK 8-10 WK (W8+)  
Running Backs Injured But on the Active Roster
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Matt Forte Unknown W4 No information Pending Carted to x-ray, team provided no details in post-game
Jeremy Langford Left ankle injury W3 No timetable given 4-6 Weeks  
Doug Martin Right hamstring strain W2 3 Weeks 3-4+ Weeks  
Thomas Rawls Fibula fracture W2 "Few Weeks" 6 Weeks  
Arian Foster Groin strain W2 Week-to-Week Week-to-Week  
Jonathan Stewart Hamstring strain W2 2-4 Weeks 3-4+ Weeks  
Ryan Mathews Ankle injury W3 Day-to-Day Day-to-Day  
Rashad Jennings Right thumb sprain W2 Day-to-Day Day-to-Day  
Chris Johnson Groin strain W4 No timetable given Week-to-Week  
Dewayne Washington Ankle injury W4 No timetable given Week-to-Week  
C.J. Prosise Hand injury PS Day-to-Day Day-to-Day  
Kenneth Dixon Left knee sprain PS W3 4 WK 3-6 Wk (W4+)  
Charcandrick West Ankle injury W3 No timetable given Week-to-Week  
Wide Receivers Injured But on the Active Roster
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Dez Bryant Tibia bruise W3 Day-to-Day Week-to-Week  
Eric Decker Rotator cuff strain W3 Week-to-Week 2-4+ Weeks  
Kevin White Ankle injury W4 No timetable given Week-to-Week  
Donte Moncrief Fractured scapula W2 4-6 Weeks 4-6 Weeks  
Corey Coleman Fractured hand W3 4-6 Weeks 4-6 Weeks  
Josh Doctson Achilles tendinitis Ongoing Day-to-Day Week-to-Week Another flare in Week 3
Devin Funchess Toe injury W4 No timetable given Pending  
Braxton Miller Hamstring strain W2 Week-to-Week Week-to-Week  
Tight Ends Injured But on the Active Roster
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Tyler Eifert Deltoid ligament repair Late May 4-6 Months 5-6 Months (W4+)  
Antonio Gates Hamstring strain W2 Week-to-Week Week-to-Week  
Julius Thomas Elbow injury W3 No timetable given Day-to-Day  
Zach Ertz First rib displacement W1 Week-to-Week 2-4 Weeks (W5)  
Virgil Green Calf strain W2 Week-to-Week Week-to-Week  
Jordan Cameron Concussion W3 Week-to-Week Week-to-Week  
Notable Quarterbacks on PUP/NFI/IR
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Teddy Bridgewater Left knee dislocation/ACL tear/+ Late August IR / 2017 9-12 Mo + (2017) Associated damage key
Robert Griffin III Left AC sprain / Coracoid fracture W1 IR / 10-12 Weeks 2017 Return  
Notable Running Backs on PUP/NFI/IR
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Adrian Peterson Right knee meniscus tear W2 IR / 3-4 Months 2017 Return  
Dion Lewis Left ACL tear / Arthroscope during rehab PS W4 PUP / Undetermined Undetermined Still no details reported
Ameer Abdullah Left foot sprain W2 IR / 8-10 Weeks 2017 Return Torn ligament is early report
Danny Woodhead Right ACL tear W2 IR / 2017 2017 Return  
Shane Vereen Triceps tear W3 IR / 2 Months 2017 Return  
Darren McFadden Right elbow fracture Early Jun 2015 NFI / 2-3 Months W6+  
Keith Marshall Left UCL sprain PS W3 IR / 3-4 Weeks W6+  
Notable Wide Receivers on PUP/NFI/IR
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Keenan Allen Right ACL tear W1 IR / 2017 2017 Return  
Sammy Watkins Fifth metatarsal fracture Surg Apr 2016 IR 2017 Return Likely to have revision surgery soon
Bruce Ellington Hamstring strain PS W3 IR / 2+ Months 2017 Return  
Notable Tight Ends on PUP/NFI/IR
Player Injury Date Player/Team Says FBGs Expects Notes
Ladarius Green Ankle surgery / ? Headaches January PUP / Undetermined W6+ Steelers say ankle not ready

I'll be updating this feature throughout the day. Footballguys Insiders will get a full update from Craig Zumsteg with additional fantasy perspectives on Wednesday and analysis of the week's game-time decisions early Sunday morning. Follow me on Twitter @JeneBramel for breaking injury news and analysis throughout the week.